Cyberbullying is a major problem in many communities today. As earlier noted on this Blog, bullying can lead to depression and sometimes suicide in teens. Parents are advised by the American Academy of Pediatrics to monitor their children's online behavior. The AAP recommends that parents take a central role in their children's online activities. A recent report published in Pediatrics cites a survey finding that a fifth of teens visit social media sites more than 10 times a day. That report is available below with many more free resources for parents. The AAP recommends that pediatricians:
- Encourage parents to speak with children about their Internet use, including social media sites like Facebook. Parents should be aware of potential problems including depression, cyberbullying, and privacy issues.
- Urge parents to educate themselves on technologies their children are using.
- Recommend that families develop "online use plans" that will encourage healthy behaviors (such plans might call for regular checks on privacy settings, for example).
- Advise parents to actively supervise their children rather than relying on monitoring software.
Pediatrics article: Clinical Report: The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents and Families (Free PDF)
AAP's tips on social media and sexting (Free)
AAP's Internet safety website (Free) [This website is packed with valuable PDF resources for parents]